Top 10 NHL 2009 Entry Draft Scouting Performances


Christopher Ralph is a hockey writer with a focus on prospects and the entry draft, as well as the Leafs’ correspondent here at THW.


Well over a week has passed since hockey’s version of Christmas (that is, NHL entry draft) has come and gone followed by hockey’s version of a Boxing Day sale (that is, Free Agent Frenzy, aka Canada Day!) which commenced last week.

As I gradually recover from withdrawal of these major events, I thought I’d take a look back to see which NHL franchise’s scouting teams’ performances seemingly stood out from the rest.

Of course, the true test will be after a time frame of 3 to 5 years has passed in order to best determine which scouting staffs were best at projecting the talent from this draft.

Until then, based on what we know now, the following is my ranking of the Top 10 NHL 2009 Entry Draft Scouting Performances. {Clicking on any prospects’ names below that are highlighted will take you to profiles that I completed prior to the draft – see my Draft Preview.}

Calvin de Haan #24
Islanders Future “QB” Calvin de Haan #24 {Credit – Dustin Hall}


1. Tampa Bay Lightning
• 1 (2) Victor Hedman,D, Modo (Sweden).
• 1 (29) Carter Ashton, RW, Lethbridge (WHL).
• 2 (52) Richard Panik, F, Trinec (Czech Rep.).
• 4 (93) Alex Hutchings, LW, Barrie (OHL).
• 5 (148) Michael Zador, G, Oshawa (OHL).
• 6 (162) Jaroslav Janus, G, Erie (OHL).
• 7 (183) Kirill Gotovets, D, Shattuck-St. Mary’s H.S. (Minn.).

Picking Hedman 2nd overall was a no-brainer and thankfully, GM Brian Lawton didn’t do any thinking and did what he had to do. The probable franchise blueliner is an unbelievable combination of size, skill and skating ability. Trading up to nab Ashton late in the 1st round was brilliant. Ashton might just turn out to be the best power forward in this draft when it is all said and done. Panik was definitely worth a 2nd round selection as he has 1st round talent if he can find the inner drive and put it all together. Hutchings in the 4th round was another great pick and many had him pegged for the 2nd round. Adding promising young netminders Zador and Janus in the 5th and 6th rounds capped off a fine weekend for the Lightning scouting team.



2. Atlanta Thrashers
• 1 (4) Evander Kane, C, Vancouver (WHL).
• 2 (34) Carl Klingberg, F, Frolunda Jr. (Swedish Jr).
• 2 (45) Jeremy Morin, F, U.S. under-18 (USDP).
• 4 (117) Edward Pasquale, G, Saginaw (OHL).
• 4 (120) Ben Chiarot, D, Guelph (OHL).
• 5 (125) Cody Sol, D, Saginaw (OHL).
• 6 (155) Jimmy Bubnick, C, Kamloops (WHL).
• 7 (185) Levko Koper, LW, Spokane (WHL).
• 7 (203) J. Samuels-Thomas, LW, Waterloo (USHL).

Selecting the talented Kane was not rocket science, but GM Don Waddell and Thrashers’ scouts did some great work beyond. Klingberg is a fast and rough and tumble skilled Swedish power forward. Morin might just be the second best sniper in the draft and many thought he would go in the top 20 – at 45th overall he could be a savvy steal of a pick. Pasquale was the top rated NA goalie by Central Scouting and to grab him in the fourth was a bonus. Bubnick in the 6th round could someday find his way patrolling the 3rd or 4th line in the big leagues. Koper is another late round sleeper with offensive upside.


3. Colorado Avalanche
• 1 (3) Matt Duchene, C, Brampton (OHL).
• 2 (33) Ryan O’Reilly, F, Erie (OHL).
• 2 (49) Stefan Elliot, D, Saskatoon (WHL).
• 3 (64) Tyson Barrie, D, Kelowna (WHL).
• 5 (124) Kieran Millan, G, Boston University (Hockey East).
• 6 (154) Brandon Maxwell, G, U.S. under-18 (USDP).
• 7 (184) Gus Young, D, Dedham Nobles H.S. (Mass.).

Duchene was another no-brainer. O’Reilly a solid 2nd round pick. Many ranking had Elliot going in the 1st round. I saw him more as an early 2nd rounder. He was definitely worth a shot where the Avs selected him. Barrie is a small but slick-skating skilled blueliner. The Avs also added two solid goalie prospects.


4. Anaheim Ducks
• 1 (15) Peter Holland, C, Guelph (OHL).
• 1 (26) Kyle Palmieri, RW/C, U.S. U-18.
• 2 (37) Matt Clark, D, Brampton (OHL).
• 3 (76) Igor Bobkov, G, Magnitogorsk (Russia, third div.).
• 4 (106) Sami Vatanen, D, Jyp Jr. (Finnish Jr.).
• 5 (136) Radoslav Illo, C, Tri-City (USHL).
• 6 (166) Scott Valentine, D, Oshawa (OHL).

The Ducks might have the best overall draft in terms of depth. Holland and Palmieri were solid 1st round picks. In Matt Clark, they might have the next Adam Foote on their hands. If Bobkov was not Russian, he might have been the first goalie selected. Landing Vatanen in the 4th round could prove to be grand larceny. Another small, but extremely skilled blueliner, Vatanen was brilliant at the recent WJC-U18s and impressed at the scouting combine.

5. New York Islanders
• 1 (1) John Tavares, C, London (OHL).
• 1 (12) Calvin de Haan, D, Oshawa (OHL).
• 2 (31) Mikko Koskinen, G, Blues (Finland).
• 3 (62) Anders Nilsson, G, Lulea Jr. (Swedish Jr).
• 4 (92) Casey Cizikas, C, Mississauga-St. Michael’s (OHL).
• 5 (122) Anton Klementyev, D, Yaroslavl (Russia-3).
• 6 (152) Anders Lee, C, Edina H.S. (Minn.).

JT 1st overall – Garth Snow made the pick he had to make – enough said. Trading up to nab Calvin de Haan at 12th overall was questioned by many, but could prove to be brilliant as the highly skilled offensive blueliner is a former teammate of Tavares. Koskinen might have also been selected a little premature, but he is an overage goalie who might be close to ready. 6th round pick Anders Lee is an intriguing prospect – the forward has yet to choose between hockey and football.

6. Montreal Canadiens
• 1 (18) Louis Leblanc, C, Omaha (USHL).
• 3 (65) Joonas Nattinen, F, Blues Jr. (Finland Jr).
• 3 (79) Mac Bennett, D, Hotchkiss School H.S. (Conn.).
• 4 (109) Alexander Avtsin, R, Dynamo Moscow (Russia-3).
• 5 (139) Gabriel Dumont, C, Drummondville (QMJHL).
• 6 (169) Dustin Walsh, C, Kingston (Ontario Jr. A.).
• 7 (199) Michael Cichy, C, Indiana (USHL).
• 7 (211) Petteri Simila, G, Karpat Jr. (Finnish Jr.).

The hometown Habs did not disappoint in selecting Quebec native Leblanc in the first round. Grabbing Nattinen in the 3rd round could prove to be shrewd as he was pegged as a late 1st rounder or early 2nd rounder. Mac Bennett had an excellent combine and is a great athlete. Hulking Russian forward, Avtsin, has sleeper written all over him. Dumont could also be a 5th round steal. He had a brilliant Memorial Cup.

7. Nashville Predators
• 1 (11) Ryan Ellis, D, Windsor (OHL).
• 2 (41) Zach Budish, RW, Team South West (MHSEL).
• 2 (42) Charles-Olivier Roussel, D, Shawinigan (QMJHL).
• 3 (70) Taylor Beck, F, Guelph (OHL).
• 3 (72) Michael Latta, F, Guelph (OHL).
• 4 (98) Craig Smith, C, Waterloo (USHL).
• 4 (102) Mattias Ekholm, D, Mora Jr. (Swedish Jr.).
• 4 (110) Nick Oliver, C/LW, Roseau H.S. (Minn.).
• 5 (132) Gabriel Bourque, LW, Baie-Comeau (QMJHL).
• 7 (192) Cameron Reid, C, Westside (BCHL).

The Predators scouting staff simply “get it”, as Pierre Maguire would say. Some question them drafting two more blueliners with their first three picks this year given all their depth. The answer – they simply draft the best player available – bottom line! They can use this organizational strength as leverage in future trade talks. If Ellis was a little taller, he might have went top 4. If he truly is not suitable to play defense in the big leagues, I see him making the transition to forward if need be. Budish is a linebacker on skates. C.O. Roussel was one of the youngest players to be drafted. He had a dynamite QMJHL playoffs and could prove to be Shea Weber Part Deux – another second round steal. Beck and Latta were solid third round picks. Nick Oliver is another one of the intriguing high-schoolers from Minnesota.

8. Edmonton Oilers
• 1 (10) Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, LW, Timra (Sweden).
• 2 (40) Anton Lander, C, Timra (Sweden).
• 3 (71) Troy Hesketh, D, Minnetonka H.S. (Minn.).
• 3 (82) Cameron Abney, RW, Everett (WHL).
• 4 (99) Kyle Bigos, D, Vernon (BCHL).
• 4 (101) Toni Rajala, RW, Ilves Jr. (Finnish Jr.).
• 5 (133) Olivier Roy, G, Cape Breton (QMJHL).

MPS at 10th was a gift. Lander is future captain material. Rajala could prove to be a monster steal in the fourth round if he can get physically stronger. Roy might just be the best goalie in this draft – albeit a weak draft for goalies.

9. Toronto Maple Leafs
• 1 (7) Nazem Kadri, C, London (OHL).
• 2 (50) Kenny Ryan, F, U.S. under-18 (USDP).
• 2 (58) Jesse Blacker, D, Windsor (OHL).
• 3 (68) Jamie Devane, F, Plymouth (OHL).
• 5 (128) Eric Knodel, D, Philadelphia Jr. Flyers (U.S. Major AAA).
• 6 (158) Jerry D’Amigo, RW, U.S. under-18 (USDP).
• 7 (188) Barron Smith, D, Peterborough (OHL).

Cliché: “Sometimes the best deals are the ones you never make.” All eyes were on Burke as the hockey world thought he would move up in the draft for a shot at either Tavares, Hedman or Duchene – or at the very least, Braydon Schenn. The price was too high, however, and Burke did not pull the trigger. While far from a consensus pick, Kadri could prove to be a solid offensive forward, which the Leafs desperately seek. Ryan is a very solid forward. Blacker was overshadowed on the blueline in Windsor, but was a solid pick for the Blue and White. Devane had similar numbers this season to Milan Lucic in his draft year. Leaf Nation can only hope! Jerry D’Amigo was a fantastic grab in the 6th round. He had an outstanding WJC-U18 for gold medal winning American squad. He was viewed as a 2nd rounder by many heading into draft weekend. Son of Steve Smith, the Leafs just hope Barron knows which goal he is defending.

10. Detroit Red Wings
• 2 (32) Landon Ferraro, F, Red Deer (WHL).
• 2 (60) Tomas Tatar, F, Zvolen (Slovakia).
• 3 (75) Andrej Nestrasil, F, Victoriaville (QMJHL).
• 3 (90) Gleason Fournier, D, Rimouski (QMJHL).
• 5 (150) Nick Jensen, D, Green Bay (USHL).
• 6 (180) Mitchell Callahan, RW, Kelowna (WHL).
• 7 (210) Adam Almqvist, D, HV71 Jr. (Swedish Jr.).

The Red Wings mid to late round selecting prowess is legendary. The ever-savvy GM Ken Holland traded out of the late 1st round, but still landed the 1st round-talented Landon, son of Ray, Ferraro. Late 2nd round pick, Tomas Tatar, might be the second coming of Ziggy Palffy. 3rd rounder Andrej Nestrasil has the size and skill the Red Wings covet and could prove to be yet another steal for their scouting staff.


Honorable Mentions:

  • Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Florida Panthers
  • Minnesota Wild
  • New York Rangers
  • Washington Capitals


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